by Susan B.
October, 1996

Here's my response to Gayle's "include these words" challenge. It's done in *FUN* so please don't flame me for making fun of mortals and/or vampires and/or mortal/vampire relationships <g>. And a special thanks to Gayle for this challenge idea ? it *was* fun !!!


Just as he did the previous five nights, Nick popped into the Raven
on his way to work, and once again LaCroix was nowhere to be found.
Nick sensed LaCroix was up to something, so he ventured into the
CERK booth to see if any evidence could be found. LaCroix's laptop
computer was sitting on a small desk. Next to it lay a brochure for
Sheridan College night school courses. Nick picked up the brochure
and flipped through the pages nonchalantly. He suddenly gasped in
surprise as he noticed one of the pages had three writing courses
circled - science fiction, horror, and romance. On closer
examination he determined that the science fiction course had been
scratched out. Nick couldn't help but laugh at the thought of
LaCroix going to night school.

With a smile on his face Nick turned to leave. It was then he
noticed what looked like a miniature suitcase laying on the floor.
Nick glanced around to make sure he wasn't being watched and picked
up the case. Inside were some textbooks, lined pads, a thermos, and
a computer disk. Nick unscrewed the thermos and discovered that it
was indeed full of blood. He carefully put the lid back on and put
it back. Then Nick picked up the disk and slipped it into his
pocket. He quickly crept out of the booth, and out of the Raven.

LaCroix was sitting in an abandoned storage room deep in the bowels
of the morgue. On the table before him were two monitors. The first
was connected to a secret camera hidden in the morgue. LaCroix had
installed it a week ago in order to gather research for his romance
story. Watching Natalie using a knife on some of her "patients"
might also come in handy for his horror story. The other monitor
was focused on the water cooler in the squad room. Also on the
table in front of him was a switch marked "Reese". It was connected
to an electrically operated three-way valve in the water cooler.
LaCroix grinned wickedly everytime he looked at it.

A short time later Nick walked into the morgue to see Nat sitting
at her desk shuffling around piles of paper. She smiled brightly
at Nick and was about to say something when the telephone rang. Nat
picked it up, but there was no one on the other end. Hanging up the
phone she once again turned her attention to Nick, "Hi there!"

"What *are* you looking for?" Nick asked.

Nat carried on with her paper shuffling, "I had a course brochure
here somewhere. I just can't seem to find it. I thought it might be
hidden under this stuff. Sheesh - I haven't even had a chance
to open it up yet."

Nick laughed, "I think I know what happened to it!"

"Oh?," said Nat, slightly confused.

Nick pulled the computer disk out of his pocket, "LaCroix's been
going to night school!"

"No way! You're a liar!" exclaimed Nat.

"It's true!" Nick replied as he tossed the disk onto her desk.

Luckily, Nat had her laptop with her at work. She popped it open,
powered it up, and stuck in the disk.

Nick walked over to the desk and they both studied the screen. Nat
called up a directory of LaCroix's disk. She saw a file marked
"Romance". Nat mumbled, "Hmmm...it's not a very big file, he must
have just started it." She tried to call it up, but it was password
protected. Nat looked up at Nick, "what do you think LaCroix would
use as a password?" Before he could even answer, Nat typed "evil".
But the file was still locked.

Nick said, "Hold on. Wait a minute. Try ..."Rosebud"."

Nat looked at him, sudden realization on her face that LaCroix was
that serial killer's computer chat pal. She typed in the word
"Rosebud" and LaCroix's story popped up on the screen.

Nick and Nat both started to read LaCroix's homework:

   "Notalaid swept back her thick chestnut hair and looked deeply
   into Nickelust's seductive blue eyes, 'Will you answer a
   question my dear Nickelust?'

   'What is it, Not?'

   'Oh, Nickelust. Do you love me? Do you *really* love me?'

   Nickelust fondled Notalaid's hair and whispered gently, 'Oh,
   Notalaid, you know I do.'

   Notalaid put her arms longingly around Nickelust, 'I wish I
   could believe you Nickelust, but every time I try to get close
   to you, to kiss you, you push me away.' Notalaid's hands
   started wandering down Nickelust's back, ever lower.

   'I don't push you away,' Nickelust moaned as he gently pushed
   Notalaid away.

   Notalaid's eyes rolled, and Nickelust reached out to touch her
   cheek, 'I wish I could be with you Notalaid, but it's just too
   dangerous. I could seriously wound you, and the aftermath of
   that would be too much to bear.'

   'Yeah, I know. I know,' Notalaid sighed. "

Nick and Nat cleared their throats simultaneously while LaCroix, watching
everything from his little hidden room, laughed himself to tears.

The End --